The Faroe Islands turn running into sensations and natural enchantment

More than 300 runners from all over the world are surrounded by the last sounds and colors of the Nordic night. The Faroes make everything magical, especially the transition from darkness to the first, dazzling dawn light. On this stormy Saturday, their pristine wilderness is populated by athletes and explorers: human beings drawn to the remote allure of pure coastlines and wild mountains. It is the highlight day of the visionary Átjan Wild Islands Festival, it is the time when local culture and vistas connect with extreme running competition. It is the day when this wonderful archipelago manifests itself in all its wild splendor. If the first 3 days of this Festival allowed, in their multidimensionality, athletes to test themselves in snorkeling and surfing, and to savor the benefits of open water swimming, today the enchanting natural discovery gives way to the epic sporting feat.

Incessant wind and gentle rain set the tone for the 4 races that intertwine on the atavistic trails of these Islands: Ultra Trail, Mountain Marathon, Half Marathon and 10km Trail. Hours pass and the rain becomes downpour, the earth becomes mud, the delicate waterways become rushing torrents. From 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. (and beyond), the Faroes demand every physical and mental energy from Átjan participants, repaying them with one of the world’s most mesmerizing milestones: Tjørnuvík volcanic beach. There are those who eat voraciously and those who dive irrationally into the icy Atlantic waves. All of them just savor and embrace an unparalleled moment. “It was a tough but wonderful day,” says Átjan Festival organizer Theo Larn-Jones, “Everyone is happy with their accomplishment. Every year it is a great thrill to see so many people at the Átjan Wild Islands Festival. They are running and nature lovers who come from all over the world to meet each other, build human connections and discover this magical place, the Faroe Islands.”

Credits: riseupduo
Text by Gianmarco Pacione